Auxiliary’s garden upgrade

After seven years of fundraising and lobbying, Jamestown Hospital Auxiliary has finally completed a new fence that will enable the site’s aged care residents the freedom to wander and enjoy the garden outside the Symonds Wing.

Auxiliary member Julie Holmes has been working tirelessly on the project, along with a band of helpers, and said it was satisfying to finally see the garden fencing completed and being enjoyed by residents.

“It now means residents of Symonds Wing aged care ward can enjoy picnics or afternoon tea, an unsupervised walk or just a sit in the sun out in the garden,” she said.

“It was so rewarding to see it finally done. We started about seven years ago trying to get grants – I put in for I don’t know how many – in the end Rowan Ramsey (Member for Grey) was able to assist with a $10,000 grant and we also had support from Northern Areas Council in fine tuning the grant application.

“A number of donations from the public also helped significantly with the project.”

It was the latest tick in a list of ongoing works being led by the hospital auxiliary, which fundraises through catering and barbecues, as well as relying on the generosity of the community and local businesses to fund the projects.

Since around 2017, just over $43,500 has been raised by the small group of volunteers, in conjunction with donations to the local health advisory council.

One wing of Jamestown Hospital has almost been completed– with one room to go – benefiting from the auxiliary’s tireless efforts to make the space more appealing to patients and visitors.

“We’ve finished the lounge – which is also known as the Lion’s Den – as well as rooms one, two, three and four,” Julie said.

“We’ve stripped the lino off the walls, repainted, put new cupboards in rooms three and four, replaced tap wear and installed LED lights.

“Room five still needs to be upgraded, but I’m hopeful that first we can upgrade the hand railing in the passageways first which will have some infection-control benefits as well.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have good support from the local community with donations and people dropping their change in the fundraising money tins around town, and just in supporting us with any events or fundraisers. I don’t know where the Jamestown Hospital would be without the auxiliary.”

Julie has worked passionately for the Jamestown Hospital Auxiliary cause since she began working at the hospital in 2001.

She no longer works at the site but continues to fundraise and said it was “just in her blood” to help out.

“It’s really just about making sure everyone has a nice, clean room and they feel comfortable there and leave feeling happy about their stay,” Julie said.

“A lot of people do donate to the auxiliary after they’ve had a stay in the hospital so that’s been a good thing in helping us continue this work and I often get comments from people about the improvements which is really nice.

“It’s just a passion of mine, I really don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t doing this for the auxiliary.”